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Head of Zeus
The Illuminated
19 Jan 2023 * HARDBACK * £20 * 9781803289779

A debut novel about women's relationships – with each other and with the men in their lives. Against the rise of fundamentalism in India, mother and daughter Shashi and Tara are forced to reexamine their relationship after the death of Shashi's husband.

Fiction / FA (Fiction)
Extent: 320 pages  Format: 229 x 148 mm
Exclusive: GB AU NZ ZA SG   Not for sale: CA IN US
The Illuminatedby Anindita Ghose

A remarkable debut novel about women's relationships – with each other and with the men in their lives – and the rise of fundamentalism in India today.

'When the light shifts, you see the world differently.'

A superbly nuanced work of fiction, Anindita Ghose's first novel The Illuminated revolves around two women: Shashi and Tara. After the sudden death of her celebrated husband, Shashi is alarmed to realize that overnight, she has lost her life's moorings. Meanwhile, their fiercely independent daughter Tara, a Sanskrit scholar, has been drawn into a passionate involvement with an older man, which threatens to consume her in ways she did not imagine possible.

Amidst a rising tide of religious fundamentalism in India that is determined to put women in their place, Shashi and Tara attempt to look at themselves, and at each other, in a new light. But is it possible to emerge from an eclipse unscathed?

An astonishing feat of the imagination, The Illuminated is as sophisticated in the quality of its prose as it is provocative in its thematic focus on questions of identity. A remarkable novel of ideas, it marks the arrival of a tremendous new literary talent.

Anindita Ghose is a writer and journalist based in Mumbai. She was previously the Editor of the Saturday magazine Mint Lounge and the Features Director of Vogue India. She completed her MA in Linguistics and Semiotics from the University of Mumbai and has an MA in Arts & Culture Journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in New York. In 2019, she was a Hawthornden Writing Fellow. The Illuminated is her first novel.

A novel with a strong focus on women and their relationships, with a complicated and fascinating mother/daughter relationship at its core, The Illuminated is perfect for fans of Min Jin Lee, Avni Doshi and Monica Ali.

The author is a journalist (formerly Vogue India) with a strong following on social media – 20k on Twitter and 6k on Instagram – and happy to do events to help publicise her book in the UK (The Illuminated has already published in India and has been widely and positively reviewed). The novel will be a strong contender for debut novel prizes and women's literary prizes.

'I wanted to write a novel about women emerging from the glare of patriarchy to find their own light, framed in alternating chapters about a mother and daughter from India. The book has a lunar scheme and the right-wing socio-political milieu and the #MeToo movement both inform the narrative.'

'Lyrical throughout yet so deceptively easygoing... The Illuminated is an extraordinary novel' André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name

'An incisive portrayal of the abusve and exploitation that thrives as duty, perhaps even attraction, in relationships' Shubhangi Swarup

'A novel of such self-assurance one can scarcely believe it is the author's first' Shanta Gokhale

'Sad and funny and wise, The Illuminated is one of those books that will make you hug your loved ones tight' Akhil Sharma

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